It’s hard to go deep in Summer. Temperatures are hot, tempers are short, and people are daydreaming about vacation.
But does this mean that our spiritual lives hit the skids? Absolutely not. In the August series, Easy Fixes, we’ll find ways to address everyday issues in just a few minutes.
When NYU Professor Scott Galloway spied a new MBA student walking in an hour late to his first class, he asked him to leave and arrive on time to the next session. Easy fix.
That’s why he was startled when the student emailed him, complaining he was “bothered” by Galloway’s request. He argued for leniency. After all, he didn’t know it was their policy that people couldn’t walk in late. How could he since this was his first time attending? The other professors hadn’t said anything.
The other professors, you’re asking? Oh yes. Professor Galloway’s class was actually the third on the list. In the prior 60 minutes, he had already been to, and walked out of, two other classes, hoping to find one he liked the most.
Galloway had an epic response. Here’s an excerpt:
Your logic effectively means you cannot be held accountable for any code of conduct before taking a class. For the record, we also have no stated policy against bursting into show tunes in the middle of class… However, there is a baseline level of decorum (i.e., manners) that we expect of grown men and women who the admissions department have deemed tomorrow’s business leaders.
Getting a good job, working long hours, keeping your skills relevant, navigating the politics of an organization, finding a live/work balance…these are all really hard.
In contrast, respecting institutions, having manners, demonstrating a level of humility…these are all (relatively) easy. Get the easy stuff right.
In and of themselves, they will not make you successful. However, not possessing them will hold you back and you will not achieve your potential, which by virtue of you being admitted to Stern, you must have in spades.
It’s not too late.
You might be interested to learn that Scott Galloway teaches brand strategy. Unfortunately, the student forgot to add “self-awareness” to his personal brand short list.
So, how can we break down a big subject like self-awareness into an easy fix? Let’s take a single aspect: language.
Like the student, do you unintentionally give away your power, claiming things just happen? Or perhaps you hear yourself making negative statements like, “I’ll never get my money together”, or “I’m always underwater with deadlines.”
This week, listen to the words you repeat such as “always” and “never” and replace them with a new go-to phrase – “I’m willing.” Don’t pressure yourself to solve the problem immediately; just be willing.
Overwhelmed at work? “I’m willing to pick one priority today.”
Frustrated with your family? “I’m willing to see things differently.”
Do you feel like things will never change? “I’m willing to be surprised.”
And if you’ve just signed up for Professor Galloway’s class, your new mantra is, “I’m willing to show up on time.”
Start shifting the rest of your year with an easy fix. Get the easy stuff right!